Previous Update: Ionia’s Rage
The League Intervenes (Noxus)
“What do you mean, regroup?!” The general shouted angrily. “We should press our advantage now, while the Ionians are still off-balance.”
Riven bent over the map of Shon-Xan spread out on the table before them, and shook her head. “We can’t. Our soldiers are overextended as it is. It took everything they had to capture Dwan-ko, and with the Ionian Navy still patrolling the routes between the port and Noxus, our supply lines are, at best, fragile. We need to deal with the Navy before we can send the troops any further.”
The general’s knuckles cracked as his fingers tightened on the haft of his massive executioner’s axe, and he scowled at the truth in her assessment. Their position was…unenviable, to say the least.
When the fighting had broken out in Shon-Xan, Noxian command had thought it wise to send an official representative of the military to look after the interests of its expatriate citizens. Darius had been rather unpleasantly surprised to find, upon his arrival, that Riven, storied Noxian traitor and deserter, had already established herself as the leader of the colonists’ militia. She had also just overseen the taking of Dwan-Ko, a port town near the Noxian colony. He considered himself a poor student of politics, but even so, Darius had quickly seen that seeking to replace her as head of Noxus’ military forces upon the islands would do nothing but set the colonists against him; and so an uneasy partnership, born of necessity, had developed between the two war leaders.
“Mmm…You’re both quite right, unfortunately,” purred a third voice. The beautiful woman who stood across the table from them cast golden eyes over the map. Darius eyed her distrustfully as she continued. “Fortunately, I believe that I may have discovered a solution to our quandary.” The woman, newly appointed governess of Shon-Xan, raised herself up on her serpentine tail and place a new figure upon the map with a dainty movement. Darius and Riven peered at it for a moment, before looking back to Cassiopeia.
“A pirate ship?” They demanded in unison.
“Mhmhm,” chuckled the daughter of the late General DuCouteau. “Whilst you two have been playing your war games, a couple of messengers have come to see me lately. Wilhelm, would you be so kind as to send the first in?” She motioned languidly towards the door guard, who clapped his fist over his heart and bowed, before opening the chamber door.
A hooded figure entered, shrouded in the robes of a Summoner. “Hear ye, and be warned!” The figure’s voice boomed in the small room as golden scroll appeared before it. “This affront to the peace of Runeterra shall not abide. Thus, a contest of arms is called to settle this dispute between the Sovereign Archipelago of Ionia, and the Grand Meritocracy of Noxus. This contest shall be arranged a week’s time hence, between the named powers and any allies who may see fit to aid them. Let the word of the League be as Law, lest all the powers of Runeterra arrange themselves against ye. There may be no appeal.”
The hooded figure vanished, its message delivered, leaving only the golden scroll, which dropped loudly to the floor in the absence of the Summoner’s magic. Riven crossed to pick it up and perused it for a moment, before tossing it to Darius. “Same message, just with more of the flowery language the League bureaucrats love so much.”
“Huh,” grunted Darius, as he perused the missive, then crumpled it between his gauntlets in disgust. “Well, I suppose we shouldn’t have expected anything different. They couldn’t allow this to get much bigger before they intervened. Not after the Void War was such a blow to their reputation. Looks like the stakes are that if Ionia wins, they get Dwan-ko back. If we do, then the Ionians will be forced to open their ports to our trade ships. Not bad.”
“Indeed,” hissed Cassiopeia, “but here, I am pleased to say, is where my little…solution may bear fruit.” The cursed woman clapped her hands, and the door guard turned to allow another visitor.
This time, however, the door crashed open beneath a heavy boot before the guard reached it, causing Wilhelm to jump back in surprise. As the door guard fumbled to bring his spear to bear, a bearded man in a fine leather long-coat strode through the door.
“Ah. Gangplank. A pleasure, I’m sure.” Darius said flatly. He’d never much liked the self-styled Pirate King of the Islands of Bilgewater, and now eyed Cassiopiea suspiciously, wondering why she had brought him into this council of war.
Cassiopiea appeared unfazed by the General’s regard, and motioned for Gangplank to say what he had to.
Gangplank gave a mocking bow, sweeping off his captain’s hat with a flourish. “Oh hail to ye all, great personages that ye are!” He straightened, and gave a loud belly-laugh. “Ah, blast, I thought I could do it and keep a straight face! Well, belay that, I’ll talk to ye as I would any man. Or beautiful ladies.” He winked at Cassiopiea and Riven, neither of whom could restrain a wry smile at his brash persona.
“We are all Champions of the League, here, so formality is unnecessary,” Riven acknowledged. “However, that still doesn’t tell us why you’re here, Captain.”
“No, I don’t suppose it does, does it deary? Well then let’s get down to brass tacks, shall we? Ye’ve got a problem, and don’t think I don’t know it. The Ionian Navy’s been kicking yer tails up an’ down the coast of these islands, and don’t seem likely to be getting tired any time soon. And now, to top yer sails off, the League’s intervening in this little spat. Well, my lads and I think that we can help. We of Bilgewater are simple folk, mostly honest merchants, as ye well know…”
Riven’s eyes widened at the ease with which he produced such a blatant lie, but the pirate captain continued on blithely. “…Being as such we are, we think that expanding Noxus’ influence here would be good for all involved. Particularly should Bilgewater ships be given favored status in the newly Noxian Port.
“Please, do continue, Captain. What are you willing to offer for such generosity on Noxus’ part?” purred Cassiopeia.
“Why, the folk of Bilgewater, and it’s surrounding waters, will be joining ye in yer League battle. A finer deal ye’ll not find this side of Davy Jones’ locker, and that I’ll drink on. Agreed?”
Darius and Riven exchanged a look. Neither of them trusted the pirate, or his assurances, but neither could they turn down what might become a critical advantage in the battle for the fate of their people. With one voice, the three Noxians turned to Gangplank. “Agreed.”
Gangplank gave a toothy smile. “Ye’ll not regret it. Now let’s give the Ionians what for!”
Next Update: The League Intervenes (Ionia)